For a website about cats this is a day to remember one of the world’s best known cat lovers, Freddie Mercury, who died aged 45 from complications of AIDS on 24 November 1991. He died at his home in Kensington, London which was packed full of antiques according to the man who continues to write a blog on Freddie’s website, Peter ‘Phoebe’ Freestone.
Freestone was Freddie’s ‘chief cook and bottle washer, waiter, butler, secretary, cleaner and agony aunt…’
“I suppose Freddie’s overriding passion was for his cats…” – Freestone
Freddie liked to go shopping for antiques and consequently his home was like a museum. Ironically many of his fans have asked if the home will become a museum.
Freddie’s love of domestic cats is as legendary as himself but, strangely, I could not find any quotes from him on cats to provide an insight into why he was such an ailurophile. Nor is there even a single mention of cats on Wikipedia’s biography of the man. I’ll have to amend that.
However, in his latest blog article (number 96) Freestone briefly mentions cats. The quote above is a good one.
The next one is good too as it gives me that insight I was looking for…
“He loved the way they [cats] were independent…..He felt that they were an extension of himself; basically living life as he wanted…”
Freddie was very independent-minded. He lived life on his terms. He was never boring. He lived a bit on the edge. But it is the idea of cats living the way they want to live and being cared for but not owned by humans that appealed to Freddie.
Freddie did not want to be a rock star. He wanted to be a legend. He had two passions: cats and shopping!
He was prepared for his death and not depressed about it. He worked during the last days of his life. According to Elton John, with whom he was very friendly, he looked terrible in his last days but was still buying things at auction.
‘He wasn’t thinking about dying at all. He showed no fear to me about dying, no fear or sadness. When you went there you had an audience with Freddie.’ – Freestone.
Freddie left his house to his friend Mary Austin who has kept it exactly as it was when he died. His five cats were looked after for a while by Mary Austin after his death. Apparently she gave them to Jim Hutton, Freddie’s long term partner. Oscar the cat you see in the photo at the top of the page escaped I am told. Not sure what that means exactly. Perhaps he found a home nearby. That’s slightly sad.
It is important to think about Freddie Mercury because through his love of cats he did a lot to raise the profile of this much loved companion animal. That helps their welfare to this day, 28 years after his death.
SOME MORE ARTICLES ABOUT THE MAN: